July 07, 2009

Palin and ‘The Urge to Purge’

After writing a column about reaction to Sarah Palin’s resignation, I found myself at odds with my blog hero, Ace of Spades, so that I felt the need to explain:

If anyone is hunting heretics or planning an Inquisition, Ace, it’s not me. . . . The problem is that there have been such purges in the past, for which you are not to blame, and the associations of old memories are stirred when we behold this bandwagon rush to declare an end to The Palin Epoch. If even Robert Novak can be tagged an “unpatriotic conservative” for having criticized the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, the conservative movement has problems far more fundamental than a squabble among bloggers.
Are the Palinistas guilty of intolerant “heretic hunting”? Where did they learn that? It is the conservative elite—the National Review crowd—who have developed the “urge to purge” into a cultic religion. If Rich Lowry wasn’t fired after he banned Ann Coulter from NR, he should have been fired after he published Frum’s “Unpatriotic Conservatives.”

You can read the whole thing. What Taki’s readers will find most salient is how the habitual mentality of the National Review crowd—a clique of snobs who consider themselves authorized to decide who is and is not a conservative—now threatens to infest the freewheeling conservative blogosphere.

One of my favorite mental exercises is dreaming up titles for books that no one would ever pay me to write, and my history of the paleo/neo schism is entitled First, They Came For Mel Bradford. If the erudite Professor Bradford was beyond the pale of respectability, we need hardly wonder that so many grassroots conservatives feel themselves excluded from the dominant discourse in the Official Conservative Movement.

BTW, while schmoozing my way through movement circles, I recently encountered a young graduate of the University of Dallas. “Ah, Dallas! Yes, Mel Bradford!” I exclaimed. The young graduate showed not even the faintest glimmer of recognition. Alas.

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